Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995 Paperback – 12 Apr 2007
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Safe Area Gorazde is a harrowing documentary comic destined to become a classic of war reporting. In the waning days of the Bosnian war, Joe Sacco, the cartoonist behind the acclaimed Palestine, made several visits to Gorazde, a UN "safe area" that had been repeatedly attacked by Serb forces. He interviewed survivors of the Serb siege and assembled their recollections. Sacco depicts the atrocities of the war in simple, restrained panels, but his attention to detail is everywhere, from the accurate renderings of mortar scars on the landscape to the history lessons carefully embedded throughout the comic.
Sacco never descends into sensationalism or exploitation of the war's victims, but instead adopts a subjective gaze that places readers in hiding spots from which they can only catch glimpses of the murders and rapes. Sacco leaves the particulars of these crimes up to the imagination of his readers, which is appropriate enough given the unthinkable nature of what took place in Gorazde.
The real impact of Safe Area lies in Sacco's immersion in the daily life of Gorazde. While other journalists left Gorazde as soon as they had the clips they needed, Sacco lived in the town for weeks at a time, becoming a vicarious resident. Although the conflict was largely over by this point, Gorazde was still surrounded and Sacco was an eyewitness to his friends' struggle not only to survive but also to maintain their sanity.
Safe Area is not just a catalogue of horrors and a condemnation of international indifference; it's also a moving portrayal of the human capacity to endure almost any hardship. Sacco refuses to fall into any clichés about the triumph of the human spirit here--the people of Gorazde themselves reject such notions--but he does offer up Safe Area as a testament to its survival. --Peter Darbyshire, Amazon.ca --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Sacco has produced a work that improbably manages to combine rare insight into what the war in Bosnia felt like on the ground with a mature and nuanced political and historical understanding of the conflict... Of the myriad books that have appeared about Bosnia, few have told the truth more bravely than Sacco. He is an immense talent, from whom we will hear a great deal more." (David Rieff New York Times Book Review)
"Harrowing and bleakly humorous, Sacco's account of life during the Balkan conflict is a timeless portrait of ordinary people caught in desperate circumstances. It's also a work of genius in an unlikely genre: journalism in comic book form." (Utne Reader)
"Like Art Spiegelman's Maus, Sacco's book juxtaposes the pop style of comics with human tragedy, making the brutality of war all the more jarring." (Time)
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Top Customer Reviews
Oh, and a final note. It's a graphic novel. A comic. And this shouldn't put you off. This is one of the finest uses of the medium I've seen, and helps tell the story in a way straight prose can't. The horror presented starkly in front of you is something I doubt many can imagine, even through the greatest descriptions, because we don't want to. Here you have nowhere to hide. Buy this book. You will not regret it.
His own visits are fairly basic, everyone is frightened and devastated by the war and he experiences the guilt of one able to come and go as he pleases. The history of the war is very clearly told, with maps and pertinent statements from UN leaders, Clinton, Milosavich, et al. Sacco clearly highlights how ineffective and downright cowardly the UN approach was, singling out British Lt. General Rose and French Lt. General Janvier for lying and dissembling in order to avoid conflict, and the Clinton administration for being inept and vacillating toward the Serbs. The history is a stark reminder that in the absence of a superpower with a vested interest, one cannot expect loose multinational efforts to deter genocide. Throughout the war, due to a total lack of leadership and moral will from above, UN forces were pushed around, held hostage, and at times fled into the night rather than protect the civilians they were supposed to. Which brings one to the most compelling and disturbing parts of the book.Read more ›
I was old enough to understand the war when it took place but found that it was delivered on the news in a way that failed to illustrate the causes and therefore without the foundations to understand what was going on it passed me by.
I bought this together with Martin Bell's ( BBC journalist) 'In Harms Way'. Both are great books in their own right and I now feel enlightened and have a far greater understanding that would enable me to hold my own in any discussion about it.
I have also bought the memoirs of Colonel Bob Stewart, who commanded the 1st Cheshire's in their tour as UN peacekeepers, but am yet to read it.
This tragic episode in post WW" history has largely been passed over although its repercussions are still being contested in the Court at Hague and the Dutch Courts because of their guilt over the atrocities that they could have perhaps prevented.
Any doubts...don't have...buy it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely well-curated showing the first person accounts as well as his direct observations of a terrible time. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Brinda Cockburn
An absolutely amazing take on the war in Bosnia.
Country which survived a three pronged agression by its neighbours, Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia (1993-1994), with an... Read more
If you have any interest in the Bosnian War (or war journalism in general), this is well worth reading. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
Utterly brilliant telling of the Bosnian war, especially since Goradze isn't as well known as Srebrenica. This has a brisk pace and is definitely worth reading.Published on 8 Mar. 2014 by IndyCurl
What I liked about this book was the very matter-of-fact personal account of the conflict it presented. Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2013 by dan
Great comic book about Bosnian War and particularly about the suffering of people from Gorazde during the siege. I love the way Sacco portrays his characters including himself.Published on 13 Sept. 2013 by rents
I have only recently discovered Sacco's works and it pains me, because had I discovered his graphic novels while I was at university, they would have made for interesting... Read morePublished on 6 July 2013 by David Everett
When I started this book I wasn't sure if I liked the style of drawing and writing, but just a few pages in I was hooked. Read morePublished on 20 Sept. 2010 by Amazon Customer
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